COEHS Centers and Institutes


American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Center

Affiliation: COEHS Administration
Director: Dr. Chris Sims
Program Manager: TBD 
Phone: 505-277-0537
Location: Hokona Hall, Room 216

The Center aims to serve as a local and national center of collaborative research that examines major policy issues affecting the survival and maintenance of American Indian languages. The Center also provides a venue for building an international dialogue about language issues that extends to other indigenous languages of the Americas. Developing and providing native language teacher training programs and technical assistance support for American Indian tribes engaged in language maintenance and preservation initiatives is another key aspect of the Center’s outreach and service.

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Institute for American Indian Education (IAIE)

Affiliation: College of Education & Human Sciences
Sr. Program Manager: TBD 
Telephone: 505-277-0537
Location: Hokona Hall 133

The Institute for American Indian Education, (IAIE) was originally created in 2003 in response to New Mexico’s passage of the Indian Education Act (IEA) and the priority of Tribal communities call for increasing Native Americans in the schools serving their children. There was also an overwhelming need to improve American Indian student retention and achievement in schools. Initial funding support for the IAIE was provided by the New Mexico Public Education Department Indian Education Division from 2004 to 2010. During these initial years of operation more than 80 American Indian students graduated with degrees in education through the support of the IAIE and IEA funding. Native faculty in the Department of LLSS were also supported in their outreach work with tribal communities, Native history and government curriculum development work, and training for Native language teachers. While some of the original IAIE faculty have since retired, current Native faculty in the UNM College of Education & Human Sciences comprise the largest group of Native faculty in any UNM program or department. In 2018, the work expanded to include faculty from the Department of Native American Studies as a collaborative planning effort was undertaken by the faculty to revitalize the IAIE. This set forth a new and ambitious mission that will address a broad spectrum of pre-K through post-secondary American Indian education issues and support educational outreach to New Mexico American Indian students and communities. For further information about this on-going planning effort and the work of the COEHS Native faculty, contact Dr. Penny Bird or Dr. Glenabah Martinez.

The current faculty and staff working in collaboration with the IAIE include:

Glenabah Martinez, Ph.D. (Taos Pueblo/Diné), Lead PI of this project, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies (LLSS). Her research focuses on Indigeneity, youth and education with an emphasis on Indigenous youth, critical pedagogy, and the politics of social studies curriculum. She is a co-coordinator of a K- 12 curriculum project: 100 Years of State and Federal Policy: The Impact on Pueblo Nations Curriculum. Email:

Gregory Cajete, Ph.D. (Santa Clara Pueblo), Co-PI of this project, is a Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies (LLSS) for American Indian Education, and served as the director of Native American Studies (NAS). With a background in Secondary and Adult Education and Social Science Education, his research interests are in indigenous science culturally based curricula, arts in education, multicultural environmental education, creative teaching/learning, and transformational education. Email:

Carlotta Penny Bird, Ed.D. (Santo Domingo Pueblo), With over forty years of experience, in public schools and tribal education, her work has emphasized the perspective of the many communities that continue to have great concern for the education of their children as well as the survival of their communities. With the contention that these are not conflicting paradigms but complementary components in supporting the future of the tribes, she continues to advocate for the study and provision of academically rich programs that develop the resiliency and talents of Native American students. Email:

Lorenda Belone, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Diné/Navajo Nation), is an Associate Professor in the UNM Community Health Education Program and is a researcher who utilizes a community based participatory research approach. For the past 17 years, she has been engaged in health disparities research with Native American communities of the southwest. Twelve of the seventeen years she has collaborated in the creation, piloting, and now rigorous testing through National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01) funding of an intergenerational family program with three tribal nations (2014-2019). Email:

Terri Flowerday, Ph.D. (Swiss/Lakota), is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the Individual, Family and Community Education (IFCE) Department. Her research focus is in the area of academic motivation and learning strategies, especially among Indigenous youth. Her research has included work with schools of the Navajo Nation, Indigenous Australians, Sami Norwegians, and Lakota. She has been at UNM for 17 years after living most of her life in Nebraska. Email:

Lloyd Lee, Ph.D. (Diné), is an Associate Professor in Native American Studies (NAS). He is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and the author of Diné Masculinities: Conceptualizations and Reflections (2013), co-authored Native Americans and the University of New Mexico (2017), edited Diné Perspectives: Reclaiming and Revitalizing Navajo Thought (2014) and Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Diné People (2017). His research focuses on American Indian identity, masculinities, leadership, philosophies, and native nation/community building. Email:

Shawn L. Secatero, Ph.D. (Cañoncito Band of Navajo), serves as an Assistant Professor in the UNM College of Education & Human Sciences’s Educational Leadership Program and coordinates the POLLEN Program for aspiring teachers to become school principals. His research interests are K-12 education, dual enrollment, holistic learning, and indigenous leadership. He serves on various committees that include the UNM Diversity Committee, Tohajiilee School Board, and coordinates the annual Striking Eagle basketball event. Email:

Christine Sims, Ph.D. (Acoma Pueblo), is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies (LLSS) and the Director of the American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Center. Her work focuses on outreach to tribal communities on issues of language planning and training for Native speakers teaching language in communities and schools. She is a co- coordinator of a K-12 curriculum project: 100 Years of State and Federal Policy: The Impact on Pueblo Nations Curriculum. Email:

Leola Tsinnajinnie-Paquin, Ph.D. (Filipino/Diné), is an Assistant Professor in Native American Studies focusing on Indigenous education, decolonization, and community- centered Nation Building. She serves on the American Indian Studies Association Council, as a co-coordinator for the American Indian Studies division of the Western Social Science Association, on the Board of the New Mexico American Civil Liberties Union and the Torreon Community Alliance as the Board Vice-President. She is from the Torreon Chapter of the Navajo Nation. Email:

Vincent Werito, Ph.D. (Diné/Navajo Nation), is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies for American Indian Education. His research interests are in Diné education, Diné language, indigenous pedagogy, critical indigenous theory, indigenous language revitalization, indigenous research, critical race theory, multicultural education, decolonization and transformative indigenous educational models. Email:


Multicultural Education Center

Category II
Affiliation: COEHS Administration
Director: Dr. Tryphenia B. Peele-Eady (
Graduate Assistant: María Feliza Monta C. (
Location: Manzanita Hall, Room 123

The Multicultural Education Center (MEC) is a Category II center currently housed in Manzanita Hall, room 123. The MEC engages in a variety of research initiatives and programming that support the College of Education & Human Sciences’ (COEHS) longstanding tradition of working with and on behalf of diverse communities and peoples. A major aim of the MEC is to advocate for multicultural education, research, programs, and policies that recognize and honor cultural and linguistic diversity and nurture culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy and teaching practices.

We achieve this goal through interdisciplinary collaborations on projects with UNM faculty, New Mexico state agencies, and community stakeholders and constituents in and outside the COEHS. These collaborations help the MEC foster programs and activities that support teachers and practitioners, promote social, economic, and curricular justice, and advance research, reflection, and critical dialogue among these groups. The MEC also collaborates with individual researchers on several externally funded research projects and, in partnership with the UNM Health Sciences Center Office for Diversity, hosts an annual STEAM-H Community Learning Academy (CLA) – a one-to-two-day professional development series for teachers, parents, and school administrators.

Comadre a Comadre

Affiliation: Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Science
Director: Dr. Elba L. Saavedra Ferrer (
Local Telephone: 505-277-2398
Toll-Free Telephone: 1-855-263-8900


Comadre A Comadre Program Office Physical Address:
Manzanita Hall, Suite 117
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Mailing Address:
MSC06 3885
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Main Phone: 505-277-2398
Fax: 505-277-2352

The Comadre a Comadre Program is a multi-level, community-based peer led culturally linguistically competent intervention designed to improve the breast health and breast cancer outcomes among Hispanic/Latina women in New Mexico. The program provides free education, advocacy, resources, navigation, and support to women and their loved ones. The Program engages over 35 community partners such as survivor partners, family caregivers, clinicians, oncology facilities, community clinics, public institutions, businesses and other stakeholders to implement its objectives. In addition, the Comadre Program also engages patient partners, caregivers, clinicians, researchers, and other stakeholders in the development of patient centered outcomes research through its research initiatives such as Voz/Voices and its Community Advisory Council.

Specific objectives of the program include: 1) increase education and awareness of screening, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer so that women can make informed decisions; 2) increase support for women facing a diagnosis of breast cancer; 3) increase knowledge of cancer services and community resources for those women experiencing a diagnosis of breast cancer; 4) increase timeliness of diagnostic services by providing community-based patient navigation, and 5) increase awareness about low-cost or free mammograms services for those women in need of a mammogram and who are in need of diagnostic evaluation.

The Comadre Program receives diversified funding from the Department of Health, national and regional foundations, and private donors.

Family Development Program: A Center for Excellence in Early Learning

Affiliation: COEHS Administration
Director: Lois Vermilya, 505-277-6943 (
Program Specialist: Andrew Castellano, 505-277-5800 (
Manager: Teresa Sierra, 505-277-8510 ( - For Administrative Inquiries
Fax: 505-277-6282
Hours: 8-5, M-F
Location: Manzanita Hall, Rooms 118-120

Mission: Highest Quality Early Childhood Development through Honoring Relationships Rooted in Equity and Social Justice.

Statewide Professional Development: The Family Development Program provides research-based professional development throughout New Mexico and disseminates educational materials relevant to children's early education, growth, and development. Our training incorporates current research on the critical importance of early learning, including brain development for how young children learn best. We offer a range of learning opportunities for early childhood leadership development, community and family engagement, child development, and the science of early learning. Our Wemagination Resource Center provides high-quality recyclable materials in support of understanding the essential role of play for children’s optimal learning and development.

Ongoing training is co-designed with community partners to meet the professional development needs of educators, staff, and parents through specially tailored training sessions that are offered in participants’ own communities. Our distinct professional development approach matches national recommendations for best practices for training teachers and parents to respond effectively to young children's earliest delight in learning. The Family Development Program demonstrates how a real partnership that combines the strengths of parents, teachers, and their community supported by university resources makes a difference for young children.


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College of Education & Human Sciences

MSC 05 3041
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM87131